Colonel Say Vivoni Incriminated Him
Governor Seeks Soldiers Exoneration
Electoral Participation Declines
Tax Evasion Exceeds 14%
Navy Drone Washes Ashore
Acevedo Vila Supports 2 Official Languages
Police Prevent Vieques Violence
Senate OKs Spanish Primacy Report
$585M In Road Projects Announced
Colonel States Vivoni Incriminated Him
April 16th, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) Former Police Superintendent Pierre Vivoni opted to incriminate Cols. Carlos Haddock Roman and Teofilo Garcia Hernandez by holding them responsible for the police intervention dubbed as the "fake operative," according to testimonies presented on the third day of administrative hearings directed by the Police Legal Division.
According to Haddocks testimony, Vivoni said in a meeting after the police intervention that the consequences had escalated to such a degree, that he preferred to incriminate subordinates instead of incriminating himself.
"I told Vivoni that I had not done anything, but follow your orders at that moment. He said I should take some days off and later he would relocate me," Haddock said in published reports.
The former Field Operations assistant superintendent said the intervention was planned during a helicopter trip from Utuado to Ponce in order to prevent Vivoni from going on a television show.
However, Haddock insisted that the weapons presented to the press as collected during the Nov. 5 operative were the result of a weeks work and not a recollection from the Police arms deposit.
Governor To Support Exoneration Plea For Three Soldiers
April 15th, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) Gov. Sila Calderon will try to convince the U.S. government to formally exonerate the Puerto Rican soldiers who were tried in a court martial for events that took place in a prejudiced environment during the Korean War.
Calderon said she has ordered an official letter to be sent to the corresponding authorities, according to published reports.
Three Puerto Ricans sent an exoneration plea to U.S. President George W. Bush after a study performed by the Pentagon revealed that the process against the 93 soldiers of the 65th Infantry was racially biased.
The soldiers were found guilty in a military court for disobeying the orders of their superiors during the war.
The charges were linked to the events of Jackson Heights, North Korea in October, 1952, when the aforementioned soldiers refused to return to the hill while it was strongly watched by the Chinese. The soldiers believed they werent prepared to tackle the operation and deemed it a suicidal mission.
Study: Puerto Rican Electorate Participation Rate In Decline
April 15th, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) Puerto Rican participation rate in the elections is not only decreasing, it is 7% less than the numbers reported by the State Elections Commission (SEC), according to a study presented by University of Puerto Rico Prof. Luis Raul Camara Fuertes.
Camara Fuertes performed the analysis as part of his Michigan University doctoral lecture. The report compares the voting process, candidates selection, and the electoral participation in Puerto Rico with the U.S. mainland.
In his study, Camara Fuertes indicates that since 1976 the electoral participation rate has been decreasing, while he also warned that the SEC calculates the rate based only on registered voters, not on the total population.
Camara Fuertes explained this makes a big difference and offered as an example the 1996 election, when the participation rate offered by the SEC was 82.8%. However, according to the 1990 census records the real participation number based on the able voters those 18 or older was only 76%.
Treasury Estimates Tax Evasion At More Than 14%
April 15th, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) Although Treasury Secretary Juan Flores Galarza said agency numbers reveal a tax evasion rate of 14% in Puerto Rico, he noted it doesnt reflect the reality of the island.
Only hours away from the deadline for filing tax reports, Flores Galarza said he would perform new studies to determine the actual rate of tax evasion on the island and added that he would also study the viability of a sales tax.
The public official stated that the Treasury Department has detected 100,000 tax payers who receive legal income but do not report it correctly or just do not report them.
"Since the beginning of this administration, we have recovered more than $300 million of which $171 million correspond to corporations that each owed more than $1 million, Flores Galarza said.
Navy Drone Washes Up In Arecibo
April 14th, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) - A U.S. Navy missile was spotted floating on the coast of Arecibo on Sunday, Police spokesman Rodrigo Perez said.
"The missile has a Navy inscription, thus it is believed to be one of the naval force's projectiles," Perez stated.
The missile is seven-feet long, orange and gray colored with fins on one end. It has the inscriptions BQM-74E y BQ-48051, with the word 'target' on it. Also, one of the fins read 2001.
The Navy has been performing military practices on Vieques for 14 days, but the Arecibo coast, north of Puerto Rico is some 150 kilometers away from the island municipality of Vieques, which is located off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico.
For her part, U.S. Navy spokeswoman Katherine Goode told The Associated Press that Roosevelt Roads naval base personnel in Ceiba were on their way to inspect the missile.
She added that given the description and the numbers printed on the missile, the artifact "is non-explosive."
Goode said she didn't believe it to be one of the missiles used in the current military practices that begun April 1.
"We are not sure, but it seems to belong to previous practices. It must have been floating for a long time. Sometimes missiles are dropped into the ocean by mistake," Goode added.
Perez said the Navy is the only one authorized to retrieve the missile, which was spotted on Sunday by two bathers who warned the Police.
Acevedo Vila Doesn't Back One Official Language
April 13th, 2002
PONCE (AP) Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila rejected Saturday Senate President Antonio Fas Alzamoras proposal for a law that establishes Spanish as the islands only official language.
"I dont know if that will get to La Fortaleza, but I think we should avoid repeating the mistakes of the past," said Acevedo Vila while explaining that the language issue should not be a priority for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP).
In that way, he backed Gov. Sila Calderon, who has reiterated that the language issue is not a priority in the PDP agenda nor for Puerto Ricans.
"Public discussion on the language, if it needs to be channeled into something, should be on how to improve teaching Spanish and English," Acevedo Vila added in a radio interview.
He said politicians should have a "hands-off" policy on this matter because it has been demonstrated in the past that Puerto Ricans have rejected the idea of excluding English as an official language.
However, Acevedo Vila supports the proposed creation of a Language Institute.
Fas Alzamora has announced his intention of filling a bill this month aimed at creating that entity that will develop learning Spanish and English, as well as other languages.
Police Prevent Vieques Violence
SWAT teams block pro-Navy group from clashing with demonstrators
By IVAN ROMAN
April 12th, 2002
VIEQUES , Puerto Rico -- Heavily armed SWAT teams prevented a potentially violent face-off Thursday between activists fighting to stop U.S. Navy bombing exercises here and about 100 counter- demonstrators who want the Navy to stay.
By blocking access before the pro-Navy group could reach the main gates of Camp Garcia, police averted what threatened to be the biggest flash point yet in this round of training exercises marked by frequent clashes since April 1.
Angry pro-Navy groups, frustrated that the anti-Navy forces have had the upper hand for three years, vowed to be back in Vieques soon.
"This abuse of power can't be tolerated," said Hector Cuevas, president of the Statehood Rebirth Movement. "This isn't over yet."
Senate Approves Report On Spanish Language Importance
April 12th, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) After a mostly partisan debate among Senate members, the Legislative body approved a report filed by the Education and Culture Committee that stressed the importance of Spanish as the official language on the island.
After its approval, Senate President Antonio Fas Alzamora intends to initiate a process to file several bills in favor of Spanish being the official language.
The Popular Democratic Party delegation voted in favor of the report with 15 votes. The report also counted with the votes of Puerto Rico Independence Party Sen. Fernando Martin, New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Sergio Peña Clos, and the abstention of NPP Sen. Norma Burgos.
Fas Alzamora emphasized that since 89% of the population does not speak English and that approving official documents in that language could constitute an abuse against the majority of the people, the Legislature has to guarantee the peoples right to be informed.
$585M Investment In New Road Projects Announced
April 12th, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) Transportation and Public Works Secretary Jose Izquierdo announced that $585.6 million will be invested in some 200 road projects to commence this year.
The projects will improve, complete, or broaden island roads and will also add new ones. Most of the construction is expected to be finished within 18 to 24 months.
Among the projects are extending PR-10 from Utuado to Adjuntas that should be finished in 2007, improving the Kennedy Expressway, broadening De Diego Expressway from Buchanan to Bayamon, improving the Las Americas Expressway on Chardon and Kalaf streets, converting PR-2 to an expressway from Mayaguez to Ponce, and constructing Baldorioty de Castro Boulevard to access the new Convention Center, according to published reports.
With these projects, investment in public roads during the last two years will total $787.8 million, Roads Authority Executive Director Fernando Fagundo said.